WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Monday released the following statement in reaction to news reports the Administration plans to eliminate several homeland security grant programs.
“A leaked OMB document indicates the Administration is planning to abolish the State Homeland Security Grant Program – the largest source of homeland security resources for training, planning, and equipping state and local first responders – as well as specific grant programs to improve port security, transportation security, communications interoperability, and emergency management planning, and to support firefighters.
“If true, these proposed cuts would mark a dangerous and disingenuous u-turn in the Administration’s approach to homeland security and first responders.
“Just months after the President signed into law a bill permanently establishing many of these grant programs, his budget office – with no supporting evidence that these programs aren’t needed – is now considering a wholesale abandonment of them.
“The administration is asking more and more of states and locals but apparently is unwilling to provide the resources necessary for an expansion of responsibilities. The National Strategy for Homeland Security addresses the key role of state and local law enforcement in preventing terrorism; The National Strategy for Information Sharing cites the importance of state and local intelligence fusion centers. And the Nationwide Plan Review comments on the need for better state and local planning for catastrophes. But state and local officials cannot do this work alone.
“Eliminating these programs will severely undercut the security gains made in the last five years by our first responders on the front lines of fighting crime and terrorism. The threats we face are not going away, and neither should our defenses. I urge the Administration to reconsider this wrong-headed strategy and continue to invest in the courageous men and women who work every day in towns and cities throughout this country to keep the rest of us safe.”